Kitchen & Bath Design News

MAR 2015

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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March 2015 | | 31 end," says Shields. "A freestanding tub is a really strong design accent, and it gives clients more opportunity to add personality to their bathroom since there are so many styles…everything from a slipper look to ones that are boxy or curved." Freestanding tubs are also almost always white, which was the resound- ing theme Shields observed at this year's KBIS. "Fashion colors are out," she says. "All I saw [at KBIS] was white, white, white…even more so than in the past. I think a lot of it is related to the freestanding tub movement. Everyone is also doing sinks, toilets and countertops in white, which gives a clean spa look." An added convenience is the use of accent tables placed near the tub, styled to complement the space, such as an antique furniture piece for charm in a traditional bath, a sleek, glass table in a contemporary space or a C-table made of solid surface material, such as those Shields saw at KBIS. "With the tub deck gone, there is nowhere to put anything," she says. PORCELAIN TILE Designing with porcelain tile isn't necessarily new, as designers coast to coast have seen tile as a leading trend for several years now – espe- cially large-format sizes that look like wood and stone. This year is no diferent, with more than half of the designers noting that porcelain tile is still hugely popular with their clients. "We're seeing a lot of 12"x24", even up to 18"x36"," says Eversoll. "People want to see less grout, and they prefer rectangular sizes over squares." The versatility of styles – including those that resemble natural stone and those with linear striations – adds to its appeal by lending itself to a variety of looks, adds Eversoll, who frequently combines porcelain tiles with large, rectangular glass tiles used as an accent. "Glass is especially popular be- hind plumbing, such as showerheads," she explains. Meredith Weiss, of Merri Interiors, in Commack, NY, has also noticed de- signers, including herself, using "wood plank" porcelain tile on shower walls. "It can be contemporary or traditional, masculine or feminine," she says. "It's very universal…and fun. It's an unex- pected surprise to see in the shower." An added amenity that more and more designers are including with porcelain tile is radiant heat. "Since baths aren't necessarily large spac- es, the investment isn't as high," says Weiss, who notes that the availability of electric mats can lower the cost. Even people living in warmer cli- mates enjoy the comfort it provides. "Radiant foor heat has always been considered a luxury," says Shields. "People used to be afraid to even ask about it. But it's more afordable than people think – if you're already replac- ing the fooring – and there are so many systems that are user friendly for installers. I'm adding it to more than 50% of the baths I design. Even in Arizona, people are gravitating to- ward it!" Ken Perrin, of Artistic Renovations of Ohio, in Cleveland, OH, often takes radiant heat a step further by also adding it to shower benches, espe- cially those made of granite, which is still popular in his area. Many of Liz Firebaugh's clients want the 'calm' master baths illustrated in these spaces, which feature gray, white and/or blue…all trending palettes for the Michigan designer. Furniture-style vanities – painted or glazed and topped with a light-colored countertop – and freestanding tubs are also popular, as are specialized lighting features such as chandeliers and sconces. Lighting is a great way to integrate trends, Firebaugh notes, as are faucets and mirrors. "They can ofer a pop of a current trend, but can easily be changed out. My baths tend to be very classic, leaning toward trendless. But an element such as lighting, faucets and mirrors can be trendy. We just completed a daughter's bath with a fun, bright green mirror above a white vanity. It made the room feel 'young' and brought a whole diferent ambiance to it." Brooke Eversoll's clients prefer a clean, less fussy design aesthetic, characterized by this master bath, which features a freestanding tub, glass tile accents and foating vanities. Large-format, rectangular porcelain tile is also changing the look of many of her baths. "Some porcelain tiles have the look of natural stone, which gives a traditional, classic look, while others have linear striations, which give a more contemporary feel. By changing the color or texture, while keeping the size the same, you can change the whole look of a bath." This master bath represents many elements being requested by Traci Shields' clients, including freestanding tubs, foating vanities with rectangular sinks, framed mirrors, oversized shower niches and porcelain tile. "Tile that mimics wood is a huge craze right now. In this bath there are many diferent pattern combinations, so it doesn't look repetitive. It looks natural and believable." Photo: Rickie Agapito Photo: Scott Sandler

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